Ashizuri-Uwakai National ParkAinan, Minamiuwa District
Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park is one of Japan's most diverse parks with its ever-changing landscape of coastal strips and mountains located on the western side of Shikoku between Ehime and Kōchi prefectures.
With its jutting cliffs and precipices along its coastal terraces, the Ashizuri region is home to communities of subtropical marine life and corals and the insular landscape is characterised by delicate inlets offering beautiful marine scenery.
Nature lovers will be in heaven in the inland area with its forest of Japanese umbrella pines, Japanese cedars, and Japanese cypresses. Nametoko Valley is a popular sightseeing spot located in the upper stream of the Shimanto River, featuring a series of waterfalls and beautiful riparian trees such as the Quercus salicina and the massive Machilus thunbergii.
The national park is also home to the sacred Kongofukuji Temple, established by influential Buddhist monk Kobo-Daishi (774‒835). Visitors can make a pilgrimage to Gassan Shrine and Sasayama Shrine, which are included in the Shikoku Bekkaku 20 temples, and making a food and drink offering to pilgrims (osettai) is encouraged.
Depending on whether your a water enthusiast, nature lover, or just plain curious, there is something for everyone at Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park. Enjoy canyoning and lunch in Nametoko Valley, jump down a waterfall and slide down a natural jumbo slide into the plunge pool below. Travellers can observe how pearls are farmed to perfection in the beautiful Uwakai Sea and even select your own shellfish.
Tatsukushi Bay is best seen on a sea kayak, and snorkelling is also highly recommended... the coral is stunning! For those who wish to stay out of the water but want to witness the beauty of the sea, an underwater scenery of Tatsukushi Bay from a glass-bottom boat is a compulsory activity. The hybrid and semi-submersible boat offers a fascinating glimpse of the underwater world at Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park that’s usually privy to snorkellers and divers.
- Canyoning and lunch in Nametoko Valley
- Learning how pearls are farmed at Uwajima Island
- Snorkelling and kayaking on Tatsukushi Bay
- Getting a glimpse at life underwater in the hybrid boat offers a fascinating insight into the underwater world in Ainan, Ehime
- Check to see if all activities are available all year round
From Tokyo, the quickest way to get to Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park is to fly from Haneda Airport to Kochi Ryoma Airport. For public transport, take the airport shuttle to Kochi Station (35 min), then transfer to the Ashizuri limited express train and get off at Nakamura Station (90 min).
There is no entry fee or permit required for Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park. Please check the website for individual activity prices.